Radrizzani: Eleven will continue to broadcast during UK blackout window
By Jonathan Rest at the Leaders Sport Business Summit
Andrea Radrizzani, the founder of Eleven Sports, has said the international subscription broadcaster will continue with its controversial policy of broadcasting live Spanish LaLiga games in the UK during the Saturday afternoon blackout window, and could soon flout the legislation with matches from Italy's Serie A.
Eleven streamed the Getafe-Levante game at 3.15pm (BST) on Saturday in protest against the UK’s long-standing ‘blackout’ of live soccer coverage between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on Saturdays. It first did so on 29 September by offering live coverage of the Barcelona-Athletic Bilbao, as exclusively reported by Sportcal.
Radrizzani said Eleven has "the support of LaLiga" to broadcast these matches, and "is in discussions" with Serie A about doing the same, potentially as early as after the current international break.
The first 15 minutes of last Saturday’s 5pm clash between Udinese and Juventus was blacked out with audio commentary only, while Eleven did not stream live coverage of the Roma-Lazio derby on 29 September either, citing “broadcasting rules” and showing full delayed coverage instead at 5.15pm.
On the sidelines of the Leaders Sport Business Summit in London today, Radrizzani, founder of Eleven-owned Aser, was asked how long the policy would continue.
He replied: "Until we can have an amicable and friendly conversation with the right parties about this. They are penalising us because there are betting websites showing the games live, while we legitimately paid the rights fee and cannot show it according to the law 48. There are many other illegal sites pirating the content and we are fighting against that.
"We would love to open a conversation in a friendly way to find a solution. So, yes we will carry on showing the games."
Joris Evers, chief communications officer at LaLiga, said today: "We stand behind Eleven. They are giving consumers the choice. It is perfectly, fine. We support that."
The blackout law is part of the statutes of Uefa, European soccer’s governing body, and the national associations of England and Scotland are both signed up to it (as is Montenegro).
Asked for its response to the broadcaster’s disregarding of the legislation in place, the Football Association told Sportcal on Monday: “We are aware of the matter and are looking into it through the appropriate channels.”
The blackout is designed to protect match day attendances, but Radrizzani said: "I would like to understand why this is competing with ticket sales in UK stadiums. Why not the Tour de France or other big sports events that are shown at the same time live on TV? The rule should be reconsidered."